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Irrevocable trusts and second marriages: Tips for estate planning

Many Oklahoma residents are lucky enough to find a second chance for love after going through a divorce. This is truly a reason for celebration, as sharing one's life with a committed partner is often essential to both health and happiness. When looking at estate planning needs, however, there are certain protections that individuals should consider when they are married for a second or subsequent time. Irrevocable trusts are an estate planning tool that appeals to many spouses, and can provide a layer of security for loved ones.

When spouses have children from previous unions, it becomes important to provide a means for passing down wealth to those heirs. Some spouses simply hand all assets down to their surviving spouse, with the understanding that he or she will provide for those children as needed. This can be a tricky proposition, however, and such an approach runs the risk of leaving children cut off from their intended inheritance.

This is not to say that one's spouse holds the intention of disinheriting his or her stepchildren. The reality is that people tend to move on after losing a spouse, and many will remarry or even have more children. In such cases, the priorities of a spouse will shift to their new family, and it might seem more important to provide for those family members than it is to pass down wealth to stepchildren.

Irrevocable trusts offer a means of ensuring that one's surviving spouse is taken care of after a loss, and that children are also able to inherit as intended. Assets placed within an irrevocable trust will pass to children outside of probate, and will also be shielded from creditors. Once assets are placed within an irrevocable trust, that wealth will be passed down to the intended beneficiaries regardless of whether the surviving Oklahoma spouse is afforded his or her own new chance at love.

Source: meridianstar.com, "Estate planning after a second marriage", Gerry Mitchell, Sept. 27, 2015

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